The New Wine Press vol 26 no 1 September 2017 - Page 14
pbmr, continued from page 11
one who listens and the one who shares, the one who
gives hope and the one searching for hope. I was a
psychologist when I talked to people about their lives,
problems, and successes, especially when I was just lis-
tening; a patient when the listening was too overwhelm-
ing and I needed support myself.
Student: all the time, when I had language problems,
when I was asking about culture and customs, when I
wanted to understand the stories of people I met, and
when I did not know what to order in a restaurant.
Teacher, when people asked me: “How is it in Poland?”
“What is your story?” “Does your nation still feel the
effects of war?” and finally “Where is Poland?” I was a
sheep who knew she was in the right place and in the
right flock, who felt good about other sheep, regardless
of whether they were black or white, young or old.
I was a shepherd’s helper who was sitting at the
back of the clearing and watching the sheep, thinking
intensely about what exactly was missing and helping
to see what at first sight I missed. I was also the one
who listened when people shared their stories: stories
of a brutally murdered beloved child, of a 17-year-old
boy being sentenced to death in prison, of a newborn
who died after not receiving proper care after birth be-
cause of his race, and whose body was put in a peanut
I heard the story of a black father who loved and
cared for his son but whose rights to see his son were
taken away by the white mother. I listened to the sto-
ries of many people who are constantly traumatized,
boys who have been shot several times by the age of
15, who at the same age have become fathers bravely
educating their children, boys who have seen so
much blood shed that this image will never disappear
from their eyes.
I heard the story of a woman whose husband was
murdered and she asked the court for the smallest
amount of punishment for the perpetrator and the
story of a Puerto Rican man who had been shot 15
times, paralyzed, and today is walking once again on
his own legs and working to make the area safer.
I listened to the story of a young man who partici-
pated in a brutal murder and today is considered a
member of the murdered boy’s family. I listened to so
many stories of people who have gone so far and have
come back hopeful.
12 • The New Wine Press • September 2017
I was also the one who shared—with what I had,
whether I considered it rich or poor. I was trying to
be the one giving hope: hope that life can be beauti-
ful, that not every man/woman/child need struggle
with such pain and fear, that everyone deserves a
good life because we were called to it, because God
created all people to share the beautiful and the good
and know happiness.
And finally, I was at pbmr center when two people
were shot in a nearby alley and lay bleeding on the
ground. Their cry was not a metaphorical “blood
scream,” which we try to hear in Poland. Their sound
was the voice of true, untreated suffering, which re-
sulted in surgery and prolonged paralysis.
continued on page 14
Summary, continued from page 11
points are almost missing from our sharing like
finances and sexuality, how members through forma-
tion can best internalize our charisms, ministry of the
Word, being best practices witnesses of the gospel.
There was very little reflection on what leadership
means for us. When people see us, they should see a
series of behaviors: Attentiveness to formation of com-
munity life, living in mission houses, living in commu-
nion of shared work, sharing finances, and honoring
All day Friday was a plenary session to collate and
write a draft document on community life as you
will find elsewhere in this month’s New Wine Press.
Writing a provocative and inviting document with
the input of so many challenged the participants to be
community. Typical of our history, the finished piece
has neither legislative force, nor is it any kind of fin-
ished product to be shelved or filed away. We are defi-
nitely a group in process constantly. For some, it says it
all, yet for others not saying enough. Can we live with
this? Or more importantly can we move through and
beyond this into something altogether new?
Reflection, continued from page 12
time at the Symposium I have a greater sense of con-
nection with the larger Precious Blood Community
than I ever had. I look forward to what the future
holds as each of us reflects upon what the future
holds for the Community.